January 2000 News

J&K security grid gets more teeth

17 January 2000

NEW DELHI: In a top-level security overview late on Monday night, the Vajpayee Government decided to adopt a "pro-active" approach against terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, raise more specialised battalions of the para-military forces and restructure the counter-insurgency (CI) grid as part of the offensive to check terrorism in the State.

The Center recast the counter-terrorism command and control structure in Jammu and Kashmir by setting up a three-tier 49 sector grid and creating a separate unified command for areas north of Zojila.

The decision was taken at a high-level meeting on J&K held at Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's residence.

The Center has decided to raise move specialised battalions of Central para-military forces specially trained for counter-insurgency operations in the State. These forces would be deployed aggressively and seek to hit at terrorist groupings rather than react in the event of an attack.

It was decided that as part of the evolving offensive strategy to effectively tackle terrorism in the State, it was imperative to enhance deployment along the Line of Control and the international border.

The important meeting, held in the deteriorating post-hijack security situation, saw the Government draw up a better coordinated "pro-active" response.

The two-hour meeting was presided over by Mr Vajpayee and attended by Home Minister L K Advani, Defence Minister George Fernandes, J and K Governor Grish Saxena,Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, Army Chief V P Malik and several senior officials of the Home Ministry and Intelligence Bureau.

Emerging from the meeting, Mr Advani said the Government was "in a position to overcome whatsoever comes our way." He said he was confident that India would win as comprehensive a victory in its counter-terrorism efforts as it did in Kargil as the counter-insurgency measures-required to be adopted in the State were now in place in J&K.

"In the last three months after the Kargil war, more particularly after the change over of government in Pakistan, there has been an intensification in the proxy war in J&K," Mr Advani said. The meeting took into account that Pakistan had reverted with vengeance to its twin strategy of exporting mercenaries with carrying out sabotage within India. The Pakistan leadership had decided that Operation Topac fashioned by the late Gen Zia was the most effective means of waging a covert war.

The meeting felt that in order to synergism counter-terrorism operations, the intelligence grid would have to be divided into 49 sectors as part of a 3 tier command and control structure and unified headquarters. It was also decided to set up an additional unified headquarters for areas north of Zojila.

While the State police and the intelligence apparatus has already been strengthened, security forces had been asked to adopt a pro-active approach against terrorists in the interland and to establish "area domination" both during day and night.

Security in Srinagar had been stopped up and round-the-clock patrolling would be maintained by the security forces. A special operation will be launched with the help or retired soldiers and members of village development councils (VDCs) to curb infiltration and exfiltration along the LoC.

For protection of the civilian population it has been decided to integrate the VDCs with counter-intelligence (CI) grids and provide them with sophisticated arms and ammunition and modern communication equipment.

It was decided to evolve special programmes to supplement the border area development programme and the basic minimum services programme. Special funds would also be provided for the border roads.


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